By George Card
My friend you might have extremely high standards of holiness, and that is commendable, for the Bible tells us that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Furthermore it tells us to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)
I must reiterate that I am not against setting high levels of holiness, but do you use your holiness to say "stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou". (Isaiah 65:5) Do you use your holiness to keep the unholy sinner from approaching you? Do you tell people you don't do this, that or the other in a bragging tone? Is your abstention of some activities you consider holy a barrier that separates you from most people?
Would you accept another believer, even if his standard of holiness are different than yours? or would you feel compelled to correct him? Would he have to stand by himself? Do you refuse to fellowship with those who have different standards than yours?
I believe in setting standards of holiness, for we seek to be holy even as he is holy. But I am or anyone in the place of God to judge another believer? If a person is saved but lives differently then I should accept him as long as he is not committing sin. For we are not to fellowship with any brethren who is living in sin. Having different standards of holiness is not sin.
I have to ask these questions, because as time passes by and things which were done for holiness, suddenly become doctrines of self-righteousness. The Pharisees started by adding little things to the word of God, not as commandments, but as rules to become more holy. Eventually the form took over the spirit, and these rules were elevated to an equal standing with the word of God.
The Pharisees holiness standards made them withdraw from the common people, and they became intolerant of those who did not follow their rules. They were indignant with Jesus because he refused to follow their man made holiness precepts. According to their rules they were more holy and righteous than Jesus, but all they really were was self-righteous.
Many religious people have the same spirit as the Pharisees, they create holiness standards that go beyond what God decreed, and declare anyone who doesn’t follow their standards is not holy and not even saved. They have fallen into the same error that the Pharisees did.
Quite often these so called standards of holiness are not even based on the Bible but only the opinions and ideas of some preacher. I personally do not like chewing gum, should I then make a rule that anyone who chews gum is not holy and therefore not saved? You might think my example is silly, and it is, but so are the standards of holiness of some preachers.
I not seeking to destroy anybody's standard of holiness, but to remind everybody that we are sinners saved by grace. Please judge not another man's servant for to his own master he standed or falleth, but he shall be holden up, for my God is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)